This month’s featured painting is Woman Awakening by Eva Gonzalès. What a soft and beautiful painting by one of the lesser-known French Impressionists.
Brief Details About the Painting:
- Oil on canvas.
- 101.5 x 82.5 cm (39.9 x 32.4 inches).
- Completed 1876.
- Location: Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, Germany.
Use this as an opportunity to test your ability to analyze master paintings. In the comments below, share what you think are the top 3 most important aspects of the painting. These could relate to areas such as composition, color, value, progress, brushwork, subject, or symbolism. Once you have done that, you can compare your thoughts with my own in the drop-down below.
Click here to see my thoughts.
- Thin, purple lines gently suggest and outline the woman’s figure. Gonzales did just enough to convey realism and not a touch more. These lines taper off towards the edges of the painting. This helps focus your attention around the middle.
- Look at the subject’s arm. Notice how soft the highlights and color transitions are. The highlights are just a hint lighter than the mid-tones. This plays into the idea of a smooth, rounded form.
- Dark accents and hard edges make the subject appear softer and more delicate and flowing by comparison. (Remember, painting is all relative. If you want to push one idea, you could do so by making that idea more compelling and prominent. Or, you could restrain the other ideas.)
- There is a subtle color link between the purple flowers in the corner and the purples on the dress and bed.
- The dress looks white, but I think you’ll find the colors are light yellows, purples, and grays rather than pure titanium white. It is our perception that makes the dress appear whiter than it actually is (“color constancy” is the technical term).